North Carolina is getting a new interstate, Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday. The Federal Highway Administration has approved Interstate 285 for the 23-mile stretch of U.S. 52 between I-40 in Winston-Salem and I-85 in Lexington.
“This new interstate is great news for the Triad region and all of North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper said. “Interstates serve as a catalyst for economic growth and make it easier for people and goods to get where they need to go.”
N.C. Department of Transportation officials made the request to upgrade the highway to regular interstate status in September 2017 after completing a pavement and interchange project that brought that stretch of U.S. 52 up to interstate standards. Drivers should see the new interstate signs going up later this year.
“We have increased safety with new designs and upgrades, with the goal of spurring efficiency and future economic development,” said NCDOT Secretary Jim Trogdon. “The interstate shield is a highly prized designation for new businesses.”
Making the highway an interstate has been in the plans for more than a decade, as “Future Interstate 285 Corridor” signs have been up along the route since 2006.
“Upgrading the highway to an interstate has been a long-time goal of the Davidson County Commissioners, the City of Lexington, and the Winston-Salem and High Point Metropolitan Planning Organizations,” said NCDOT Division 9 Board of Transportation Member Michael Wells.
As part of the long-range strategic plan to bring improved mobility to the state, North Carolina has added several interstate designations in recent years, including I-87/Future I-87 (Raleigh to Norfolk), Future I-42 (Raleigh to Morehead City) and I-140 (in Brunswick and New Hanover counties).